Monday, May 21, 2012

$ Ch-ch-ch-changes! $

Last week was somewhat of a milestone for me:  I've been out of law school for a whole year.  Although I've only been working since September, I've still been out of the academic bubble for more than 12 months, 365 days, 8760 get the point. 

All of this has gotten me thinking about the steps I need to be taking financially in order to prepare myself for the next stages in my life. 

My student loan debt is astounding (I have three Ivy League degrees!), and while it's easy to keep up with the payments with my current salary (ptoo ptoo knock wood ptoo ptoo), I have not made as much headway in paying them down over this year as I would have liked.  I sort of feel as though I'm throwing small clumps of money at my loans and hoping that they will get smaller, but my funds are barely making a dent.  Who'd have thought that spending what I want on whatever I want and devoting whatever "spare" cash I have to additional payments wouldn't be doing the trick here?  Shocking, I know.

Right now, I'm lucky not to have any financial responsibilities outside of my loans.  No children, no spouse, no mortgage.  I have a good job that pays well.  This will not always be the case.

So I'm getting serious.  My one-year real-adult anniversary seems like as good a time as any.

I've come up with an aggressive budget --- an actual budget --- with which I can devote 70% of my take-home pay to paying down my student loans.  I've still left myself with a bit of fun spending money, but it's less than 20% of what what I'd been working with before.  I don't carry any credit card debt, but I will be cutting down use of my credit card almost entirely to work-related reimburseable expenses. 

I have no idea whether I can make a budget like this happen over the long-haul, but you'll hear all about it either way.  Soup to nuts, the good, the bad, the ugly.  How about we start with the ugly?  I started with the restricted (weekly) spending budget yesterday and I'm already 40% through it.  Erm... 

And I'm pretending not to notice there's a Kate Spade sale on Gilt tomorrow.  Not fair, fate!

(this will not be in the sale, but I missed out on this bag last year and it has taunted me ever since) (cue Whitney: "and iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIIiiiiIIIIiii....") (image)

All this to say, the character of my posts may change a bit.  This blog has always reflected my life, and for the last few years my life has largely consisted of frolicking in the land of in-school deferred loan payments or minimum loan payments.  I imagine now there will be a lot fewer large sale hauls (unfortunately for all of us), and there may be more posts about saving money, paying down student loans, and shopping on a limited budget.  (Really, I'm just going from one type of Jewish girl to another!)  I imagine many of us are in the same boat with student loans, although I'd bet dollars to donuts I out-loan you.

That said, I'll be easing you into this new Jewish Girl slowly --- you still have to hear about my new folding bike and my (upcoming) trip to Vegas, both of which are/will be my last bits of financial levity before most of the rest of my extra money goes towards loans. 

It is done!

Also, I'll still be wearing clothes.  I'll just be working more intently with the clothes I already have, which is probably more realistic and helpful anyway.

I think this new adventure is going to be fun, challenging, and interesting to watch (either because I'm successful or because I lose my mind and become an entertaining trainwreck and cautionary tale). 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments; if it seems like a lot of folks are interested in hearing more about the financial side of my life I will make sure to work in more posts about that subject.  If you'd rather things stay as unchanged in content as possible, I'd like to know that too. 

Let's do this!


missy said...

Did you hear about the guy who paid off his $90k student loan debt for Harvard Business School in 6-7 months? Pretty great stuff.

JewishGirlBlog said...

Yes, I did hear about that! Very inspiring...I'll be bringing a flask with me to bars before you know it! :-)

Anonymous said...

I am a current law student and would most definitely be interested in some real life insight into budget friendly living in order to pay back school loans!

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